Friday Follies

The goings on about Silicon Valley.
Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. (The USSR’s Valentina V. Tereshkova became the first woman in space almost exactly 20 years earlier, June 16, 1963.) Disney got into the portal “business” by buying Infoseek in 1998 for $70 million.

Happy Birthday Paul McCartney. He’s 62.

  1. According to Keynote, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft suffered system slow downs on Tuesday due to a massive and “sophisticated” distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against Akamai, one of the companies that provides them with distribution. Akamai disputes Keynote’s portrayal of the outage.

  2. The US House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection has proposed a bill that would regulate spyware, forcing companies to notify consumers before installing monitoring programs on their computers. HR2929, proposed by Mary Bono and Ed Towns, has been dubbed the “Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act,” SPYACT, and would also ban keyloggers and pop-up ads that can’t be closed. The US Senate is considering a similar bill.
  3. According to CNET, the Senate is also considering a bill which would effectively ban P2P file sharing services like Kazaa and Morpheus. The Induce Act says that “whoever intentionally induces any violation” of copyright law could face fines and prison time. The bill could conceivably ban products like ReplayTV and even VCRs according to some experts. The law is not yet public but could be introduced by next week.
  4. Russian anti-virus company, Kaspersky Labs, claims to have discovered the first cell phone virus. Cabir infects Symbian-based Series 60 phones from Nokia, Siemens, Sony-Ericsson and others and propagates via Bluetooth. The virus writes the word “Caribe” on the screen and runs the battery down by searching for other Bluetooth phones to infect, but is otherwise apparently harmless. Users must accept a Bluetooth file to be infected.
  5. The number one CD in the nation, Velvet Revolver’s Contraband, can’t be copied to an iPod. The CD is one of a dozen copy protected discs distributed in the US by BMG. The success of the CD despite the label “protected against unauthorized duplication” will likely encourage record companies to use copy protection more widely. The MediaMax technology from SunnComm International can be defeated on PCs by holding down the “Shift” key while the CD is loading. The copy protection scheme prevents ripping the CD to MP3, but the disc contains protected WMA tracks that can be copied to some MP3 players. The WMA tracks don’t work on the iPod and other players which don’t support Windows DRM. Want to know why copy protection is a bad idea? Read Cory Doctorow’s brilliant, and hilarious, speech delivered in the Lion’s Den: Microsoft.
  6. U2 lead singer Bono has joined a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. According to the Wall Street Journal, Elevation Partners will invest in entertainment technology. Not copy protection I’m betting.
  7. Terry Semels, CEO of Yahoo, has donated $25 million to the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.
  8. Scientists have discovered a gene that makes vole rats monogamous. Genes from the prairie vole can turn the swinging meadow vole into a homebody. That’s like turning Frank Sinatra into Pat Boone, yeah he’s monogamous but can he sing?

Listen in Friday at 8:35a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles.

18 Replies to “Friday Follies”

  1. hey leo,
    first I just wanna say I have never been more proud to be canadian than when I heard of cfh 2.0:D..well ok I’m always proud to be canadian..we have hockey!
    but I was just wondering if you’ve seen this little comic strip before?
    lucky there…almost posted some dumb link a friend just sent lol
    http://www.vgcats.com/vgc_comics/?strip_id=115

  2. Well if they’re going to allow every media organization to run civil witch hunts for infringement, they might as well shut them down. Better than bleeding some unsuspected parent or grandparent of several thousand token dollars. This is a MPAA and SIAA push. They let the RIAA muck it up so they could beg Congress for harsher legislation. I could care less about a crappy downloaded song or a warez copy of Photoshop. What I do care about is the influence these fat cats can buy in Washington. All of you sit on your butts and allow these corporate hounds and Congressional clowns to strip you of rights and privileges. They are damn hard to get back when they’re gone.

  3. Funny. I bought the Velvet Revolver CD, threw it into my PowerBook, iTunes ripped it into AAC format and I can play it in iTunes without a problem. I know I threw at two songs from the CD on my iPod. I didn’t play them yet though but I’m pretty sure they’ll play. Maybe the copy protection is a PC only thing.

  4. As long as you don’t autorun the VR cd, you should be able to rip it. When autorun’d, the cd secretly installs the ‘SbcpHid’ driver on your system that garbles up any ripped tracks. More info here: http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~jhalderm/cd3/
    I wonder if this technology would qualify under the anti-spyware bill.

  5. I got Velvet Revolver on my iPod right now. Ripped it on my powerbook moved over to ipod been listening to it for days. No problems. he he he he

  6. Hey Leo,
    I’m going to be heading out to LA the 2nd week in July (the 12th-16th) will you be around the area at all?

  7. Yeah, playing VR on my iPod right now, so it definitely works. Such a shame the copy protection is a PC only thing.

  8. WOW! Cory Doctorow’s speech at Microsoft was excellent. I hope they were listening closely to what he had to say.

  9. A few random thoughts:
    You Fat Cats in The RIAA and MPAA are going to rue the day you messed up our consumer rights for your own greed.
    Great article by Wired News.
    G4 Web Designers, Give it up. You can’t fix the problem by coddling the displaced TechTV fans.
    I won’t be watching any of your programs.

  10. I was really worried about that bill, until I saw Orrin Hatch’s name on it. Come on Utah!! Do the rest of the country a favor and get that bought-and-paid-for psycho out of office already. Tacking protection for deep-pocketed copyright holders onto a bill to protect children… shame on him.
    Once it goes public, it will be picked to pieces and be done with. I, for one will be doing my share of picking. I intend to write to my representatives, urging them to stick a fork in that bill. Everyone should do the same. Ron (who posted second, above) hit the nail on the head. We cannot allow even more rights to be stripped from us.
    You know what cracks me up? If you replaced the words “Kazaa” with “guns” and “File Sharing” with “shootings” – you’d have all these same people jumping up and down about how “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people!” and fighting tooth and nail to protect our right to keep and bear arms. (A right that I choose not to exercise, but it’s nice to have the choice to make.) Yeah, it’s an extreme example, but if they can justify this bill, is it really such a stretch of the imagination? What other rights are they willing to sacrifice?

  11. Since the federal government essentially invented the Internet, will the Feds be held liable for all Internet-related copyright violations under Hatch’s proposed bill?

  12. leo what about this I need to see call 4 help again played backed even it s just repeats. The screen savers is all we got and for now but I don’t see tech tv any more on my cable and I don’t see g4techtv either looks like I am screwed out of every thing, but I Learned the internet cause of you guys and I can be connected from anywhere to the info you provide so its not that bad.
    How bad do I want to hear it from any src is great but its not here at least until the era starts up all over again in the near future hope you there leo.
    leo good bye for now so long for later

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